8:00 PM, 16th November, 2012
Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper in the year 2042, a hit man contracted by gangsters 30 years into the future where time travel exists on the black market. The job of a Looper is to dispose of targets sent back in time by killing their bound-and-hooded quarries the second they materialise, after which they retrieve the silver taped to the back of their victims - compensation from the future for a job well done.
But Loopers, like any other profession, must eventually face retirement. So if one day they find that their victim has gold bars strapped to their back instead, then the Looper has just killed his future self and "closed the loop". Richly rewarded with a final payday, the Looper then gets to live out the remaining 30 years of his life in luxury. It's a clean, convenient system, but when Joe's future self (Willis) is sent back to be killed, he unexpectedly thwarts his own execution and escapes into the past. Present-day Joe must then track down his future self to close the loop for good, or risk being given an early retirement.
Looper is far more than your run-of-the-mill time travel movie; it's a smart, cleverly constructed and truly masterful film from Rian Johnson, who brought us the brilliant teen noir Brick a few years back (incidentally, also starring Gordon-Levitt). Add into the mix a pair of uncanny performances from Gordon-Levitt and Willis, some highly inventive action sequences, along with a thought-provoking, genre-defying script that will give you plenty to talk about afterwards, and the end result is sci-fi at its absolute, mind-blowing best.
10:13 PM, 16th November, 2012
Eben Adams (Cotten) is a penniless, disconsolate painter in Depression-era New York, who encounters a strangely fervent little girl in Central Park. She dresses and talks as though from a bygone era, and sings an odd unsettling song. Thereafter, he continues to run into Jennie or, rather, she is continually running towards him from out of the gloom. And she's a little older each time. Adams's painting, meanwhile, is marked by a new passion...
I first came across this in a movie list of 'Ten Otherworldly Girls' (a list that also included Regan McNeil from The Exorcist, Catwoman from Batman Returns and Sadako from Ringu/The Ring), and immediately went searching for it. It's an enchanting movie, with excellent location shots of 1940s NYC.
Producer David O. Selznick devised and funded this for Jones, his wife at the time - and it had the painful, tumultuous production that is common for works born of emotion. Those films also end up pretty awful more often than not... luckily Portrait of Jennie bucks that trend. The acting is great - this is widely regarded as Cotten's best role (he won at Venice for it), Jones is suitably charming as Jennie and they are supported by great classic actors like Ethel Barrymore, Cecil Kellaway and Lillian Gish. Directed by Dieterle (who was best known for biopics of Emile Zola and Louis Pasteur), it won an Oscar for special effects (as well as being nominated for its B&W cinematography). Come along and marvel at the timelessness of this classic, mesmerising film about true love.